Past Comments

October Issue 2005
by Tom Starland

First Off

We have posted two new elements on our website at ( One is a page for all fundraising efforts, in the visual arts sector, for Hurricane Katrina relief. Just remember we need up-front time to be able to post the notices and for people to react to them. Also, be very careful about any efforts you get involved in - ask questions before you react. You can always give money to the Red Cross or Salvation Army and some events, although with the best of intentions, don't end up raising much money that goes toward relief efforts.

But make no mistake about it - there are going to be a lot of artists, art businesses, and art institutions in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and don't forget about Florida (and now, coastal NC), that will be out of business for a time - some for as long as a year. They might be going through the motions, but the local economy just won't be there. We know what it was like in Charleston, SC, after Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Our paper at that time - Charleston Arts, was shut down for six months and it took several years to get back to where we were the month before that hurricane hit. There just was no activity to talk about and the hotels that were functional were full of FEMA folks, insurance adjusters, builders - but no tourists.

Sixteen years ago our October 1989 issue was sitting at the printers waiting to be run, but Hugo took the roof of the building off. We printed a makeshift version on a copy machine. I don't like to remember those days that often.

So for the next 20 or 100 years the Carolinas needs to be a no hurricane zone!

The other new section on the website is for ongoing comments about the Guest Commentary offered by James Daniel, III in our Aug. 2005 issue. We would never have space to print them all in the printed version of the paper, so they will be posted on the website. Just remember to keep to the subject and stay away from the personal comments or they might not get posted. I'm happy to see artists expressing their opinions on any subject.

From 100 Years To 30 Years

Last month we congratulated the Gibbes Museum of Art on being in the same building for 100 years and this month we congratulate the Sea Gull Gallery at 224 E. Coleman Blvd, at Shem Creek, in Mt. Pleasant, SC, on its 30th anniversary in the same location. It's the oldest gallery in Mt. Pleasant.

Thirty years is a big landmark for a commercial gallery - especially a co-op gallery. There are some galleries that have just been around for a few years that try to make people believe they have been around 30 years by saying things like - approaching our 30th year. Heck, the paper is approaching its 100th year for that matter.

Ten local artists opened Sea Gull Gallery in 1975 with the primary goals to encourage the love of art east of the Cooper (that's what Charleston people call Mt. Pleasant, but it had grown into a major population hub of its own), promote fine art, and teach others the enjoyment of creativity and painting. These goals remain the same 30 years later.

Sea Gull Gallery will be throwing itself a party on Nov. 4, 2005, from 5:30-8pm. Several of the original founding members, who now have galleries of their own will show work at the celebration, including Betty Anglin Smith, Steven Jordan and Patsy Tidwell.

Sea Gull Gallery over the years has been a breeding ground for the greater visual art community in Charleston. You can trace artists' from its family tree throughout the local gallery scene. Like many co-op galleries - some artists move on to open their own galleries or form other co-ops and new emerging artists replace them.

Today, seventeen artists host an exquisite collection of original painting in oil, watercolor and acrylic as well as prints, many in giclee. Artists, Betty Beach, Sandra Booker, Don Boyd, Martha Bryce, Betty Condon, Derna Conklin, Anna Eddy, Sharon Hyde, Sherry Maharrey, Jim Meyer, Judy Shoemaker, Karen Tempei, Betsy Tezza, Jack Thames, Colleen Wiesmann, Martina Yearwood and Tony Young offer a diverse collection of subject matter. Local residents and tourists return year after year to visit this unique gallery.

You can check them out at (

November in October

You may have noticed that some of our articles are about events which will take place or begin early on in November.

The Charleston Fine Art Dealers' Association (CFADA) in Charleston, SC, will present its 7th Fine Art Annual. Avid collectors, art enthusiasts and nationally renowned artists will be flocking to Charleston, SC, for this visual arts weekend, Nov. 4-6, 2005. Proceeds from the event will benefit Charleston County High Schools' fine art programs. (See article on Page 1.)

My favorite part of the weekend is the Saturday morning - painting in the park.

CFADA says that it "consists of the city's most prominent galleries", but you should know that there are other promient galleries in Charleston, that just don't happen to be members of that organization. Remember, Charleston is the location of a very large commercial art community.

Moving to the Upstate of South Carolina, Wachovia Bank, N.A. and the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC) of Greenville, SC, will present the fourth annual Greenville Open Studios, which has been scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 5-6, 2005. Greenville Open Studios 2005 is a free, self-guided tour of 67 artists' studios within a 15-mile radius of downtown Greenville. (See article on Page 11.)

Greenville is becoming a major player in South Carolina's visual art scene with the revitalization and development of the West End area, the new Artisphere International Arts Festival, the Studio Tour and the new Falls Park on the Reedy River makes a visit to Greenville special.

It Takes Money to Make Money

Some bozos in the NC State Legislature just don't get it - that is what's been going on in WNC, as far as cultural tourism development. They've been up in arms about a $400,000 appropriation in the State Budget for the Sparta Teapot Museum to be build in Sparta, NC.

Sparta, which has lost over 2,000 jobs in the textile industry is trying to draw some of the tourist trade from the Blue Ridge Parkway, just 5 miles away. The Museum will be home to one of the finest collections of teapots in the world, the renowned Kamm Teapot Collection of 8,000 objects (worth $5 million) owned by Sonny and Gloria Kamm of Los Angeles.

The $400,000 is a drop in the bucket toward the $10 million project which will be just another plum in WNC's cultural tourism market. The museum backers hope to attract 60,000 visitors annually when it opens in 2008. A traveling exhibition of 250 pieces from the Kamm Collection set attendance records around the nation.

Do the math - $400,000 to get a $5 million collection which will attract thousands of tourists a year. These legislators act like they're from South Carolina. That's dumb!


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